By Jamie Crawford
As the political turmoil in Egypt continues, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she's concerned about an Egyptian military official's assertion that the current situation could lead to the collapse of the Egyptian state.
"I think that would lead to incredible chaos and violence on a scale that would be devastating for Egypt and the region," Clinton said in a CNN interview Tuesday at the State Department. "There has to be some understanding by the new government that the aspirations that the people were expressing during the revolution in Egypt have to be taken seriously. And it - it cannot in any way be overlooked that there is a large number of Egyptians who are not satisfied with the direction of the economy and the political reform."
Thousands of anti-government protesters have clashed with police and troops in three Egyptian cities, and defied President Mohamed Morsy's curfew orders. Demonstrators are upset with recent political moves by Morsy, and charge that the country's first democratically elected president is a throwback to former dictatorships.
Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's defense minister, warned Tuesday that continued instability could have grave consequences.
"The ongoing conflict among the various political forces... may lead to the collapse of the state and threaten the future of our coming generations," he said.
Clinton said the Egyptian government needs to realize it represents all of Egyptian society and must have a constitution that recognizes the rights of all minority groups.
"I think the messages and the action coming from the (Egyptian) leadership has to be changed in order to give people confidence that they're on the right path to the kind of future they seek," she said.
The U.S. secretary of state said she knows it's not an easy transition.
"It's very difficult going from a closed regime and ... essentially one-man rule, to a democracy that is trying to be born and learn to walk. But there are some clear lessons."
Clinton, who will retire from her position at the end of the week, spent a few tense hours with Morsy last November as the Egyptian president worked with the Israeli government and the leadership of Hamas to broker a cease-fire between the Israelis and the Islamic movement in Gaza.